He feels it. The stone-cold surface against his left cheek. Ash would in any other case have laid on his right cheek, but chose not to, since it was torn up by the whiplashes that had ended up on his once beautiful face. Now, his face was scarred and bleeding from the harsh punishment he had to suffer, because he had allegedly killed his master. It wasn’t as if the thought of killing his master had never crossed his mind, but in the end, he didn’t have the guts to put his life on the line for revenge. Killing him might have been a mercy, seeing as he clearly couldn't stand the life, he was living.
“Elf, do you understand the reason, your pathetic existence ranks below my own?”
The voice came from the fat, smiling priest standing beside Ash, sacrificial dagger in hand. Ash simply spat in the general direction of the priest whom he could not see because of a blindfold covering his eyes. Elves were born with exceptional hearing, which allowed him to pin-point the location of the disgusting priest. Even though he couldn’t see it, Ash could hear the dry lips of the priest separating, turning into one of his signature revolting smiles.
“Now, now Ash. I would hate it oh so much, should I have to whip you another hundred times. All you have to do is answer my question.”, the priest said.
Silence filled the room for a few minutes.
“Ash, my dear friend. You leave me no choice”. The priest said, his voice accompanied by the sound of his whip tearing into Ash’s flesh, further eating away at his elven beauty. The sickening sound of liquid dripping onto the floor echoed through the large, circular room.
"Don't blame me for this. Your very existence is at fault here” He continued.
Drip, drip, drip.
Ash’s vision was fading. His body turning paler and paler, while the mad priest continued to ramble on about how he would ‘purify’ the world. Ash mustered the strength to separate his lips and form two words.
Enraged, the fat priest knocked the dying elf out. Following that, he was treated by the church's nuns, who were making sure to only bring him out of mortal danger.
Inside of Ash’s mind, he was experiencing none of this. He stood in a space. One could call it a room, but a room requires walls, and none could be seen in this ‘space’, which was the name Ash’s subconscious had decided to give it. Ash turned around. More darkness. Strangely, even though it was dark, he could still see himself as clearly as if it had been a brightly lit hall, back in his late master’s mansion. As strange as this was, it did not bother Ash very much.
Suddenly, a loud voice, coming from all around the room spoke
“Ash Tsuga, make a wish”, the voice demanded.
Dumbfounded, but eagerly wanting to know more about the place he had ended up in, Ash wished to “see what he wanted at this moment”, and in front of him was a box, neatly placed in the middle of a circular table made from hemlock. The box itself was an antique, wooden one made from hemlock. No more than ten centimeters tall and twenty centimeters long. Inside the box was a handheld mirror.
There is a myth, stating that eyes reflect the soul. That was in this moment for Ash, very true. Ash picked up the mirror, and gazed at his face. In place of the scars from the priest’s whipping were cracks in his skin, which even though they were only around half a centimeter deep, looked like gaping holes. It was like staring into the very essence of darkness. The cracks would start from Ash's own eyes, which were devoid of any color. They would spread all the way to his shoulders, beneath his skimpy shirt, and continue down his arms, until they finally ended at his fingertips. Black was not the word for the crack, for they were not black. They were darker than black, a shade of evil, so dark that it could not be described with words.
“What do you desire?”, the voice asked. This time it came from behind him.